Emma blogs about all the help she has received from Mind. Now she's giving something back by volunteering for us. She explains how doing this has done wonders for her confidence.
I had big ideas for my gap year. I imagined completing college and then start volunteering with the RSPCA and then eventually get employed by them. However, by the time college came to an end, my mental health deteriorated and was defeating me, so instead of travelling, I spent the year in and out of various psychiatric hospitals.
I have decided to have 'take two' of my gap year and I am using it to volunteer at Mind.
However, I have decided to have 'take two' of my gap year and I am using it to volunteer at Mind. Volunteering has given me an incentive to stay out of hospital. Mind has supported me multiple times when I have been in crisis and has given me information on medication, hospital admissions and diagnosis'. This is my chance to give something back.
I was so anxious before I started; I didn't really sleep the night before.
I was so anxious before I started; I didn't really sleep the night before. The whole weekend before, I was fretting about the littlest things. However, I needn't be worried, it went really well. It was a huge step for me to take, but I am so proud that I did it.
When I arrived, I was greeted by friendly staff and volunteers who showed me around the shop. Everyone made me feel so welcome and I really do feel part of the team. I quickly got the hang of the routine, but the staff were more than happy to help me if I needed them. The hardest part was learning how to use the till; I kept getting myself in a muddle. Now, it is my favourite part because I love talking to the customers.
Since volunteering, I have learnt that that's, not the case. I am not a failure. I am a survivor.
Volunteering has boosted my confidence and my self-worth and happiness have soared since starting at Mind. The daily routine is never the same; there are always things to do and get on with. Despite only volunteering for less than three weeks, I am already getting to know the regular customers who come in.
I thought I for a long time I was a failure because my gap year was different from everyone else's, but since volunteering I have learnt that that's not the case. I am not a failure. I am a survivor.